Thursday, October 13, 2011

Observing another doomed satellite: ROSAT

Shortly after the UARS reentry, which got wide attention, another scientific satellite is about to meet its demise by an uncontrolled plunge into the atmosphere. It is the German X-ray astronomical satellite ROSAT. This satellite is currently predicted to reenter about October 22 to 24.

This evening I watched it pass during twilight (sun at 8 degrees below the horizon, first stars just visible in a blue sky). It was fast, zipping across the sky, and bright: magnitude +1 and an easy naked eye object.

I used the new EF 2.0/35mm lens (a new purchase, first used last weekend during the Draconid meteor outburst, on which I will post in a later post), set to F2.5, making 5 second exposures at 400 ISO. The fast moving objects ran out of the frame of two of the three images. Below is the image thats shows the complete trail. The satellite was moving from left to right, across Cepheus. The streak in top is a streak of cirrus.

click image to enlarge

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